McGrath Nurses

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  • Giovanna_BCNA
    Giovanna_BCNA Member Posts: 1,839
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    Hi everyone,
    I have just read this post and wanted to respond to all of you.  I can see that there have been varied experiences with accessing a breast care nurse and this has been discussed previously in the online network.  See response from @Marianne_BCNA below from a similar discussion regrading breast care nurses.

    Marianne_BCNA Administrator Posts: 225 ✭
    Hi all,
    Thanks for alerting me to this conversation @iserbrown. The very varied experiences and disparity in care you all describe with breast care nurses reflects what we learnt from our State of the Nation project. We are aware that this is particularly an issue for women who have neo adjuvant therapy as they may not see a breast care nurse until much later in their treatment or at all. We have fed the information we received form the State of the nation back to McGrath and CNSA (Cancer Nurses Society of Australia) and have been in close communication with them. There isn't an updated position statement re breast care nurses but I understand that this is a priority for them and we will maintain communication with them during this process.

    As Marianne has mentioned this is one of BCNAs priorities from the State of the Nation report and we will continue to advocate to government for increased funding
    for metastatic breast care nurses to enable training for breast care nurses in treatment
    pathways for people with metastatic breast cancer. BCNA has been corresponding with the McGrath Foundation regarding this deliverable.   We will keep you updated regarding further progress in this area.




  • Patti J
    Patti J Member, Dragonfly Posts: 589
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    @Giovanna_BCNA. It is very frustrating to be told that there will be more McGrath breast care nurses. In 2018, the number of these nurses increased from 119 to 120 nurses.


  • Sister
    Sister Member Posts: 4,960
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    I find it frustrating that there now seems to be a wide perception that we have access to BC nurses (eg the survey recently appearing in the forum).  I know some have and that is wonderful but it is far from the case for many of us.
  • Giovanna_BCNA
    Giovanna_BCNA Member Posts: 1,839
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    Hello @Patti J sending you a private message

  • Sarnicad
    Sarnicad Member Posts: 318
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    I haven’t had a breast care nurse and it would have been useful prior to surgery as post hubby had to go try find a suitable crop top for me to wear home I knew nothing. It was only that  a nurse on the ward that clued us in. Possibly the failure in this regard falls to the fact I was only having a lumpectomy but I still needed support. 

    When  I asked my surgeon she hinted that there were some political games being played about nurses not working with some surgeons patients - pretty poor if you ask me

    it all changed dramatically once I went to oncology. My medical oncologist has an oncology nurse in his practice and the treating hospital has a breast oncology nurse attached to the oncology ward. I believe although I haven’t accessed them that there are also a couple of breast care nurses attached to the hospital as well. Radiation oncologist also had nurses available for me. 

    Ultimately this hasnt been that that big an issue as I am also fortunate to have a close friend that is a breast care nurse who I could ask questions of and she did offer to do more if I needed it but really you don’t want to put your friends in that position!

    in my experience once diagnosed someone should be allocated to you and it should be their job to follow the patient up. I was so completely overwhelmed with the diagnosis, trying to sort my life out, trying to sort work out and generally deal that I didn’t have time to chase up a breast care nurse.  
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,388
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    I didn't have a breast care nurse but to be honest I didn't need one. I had a fantastic senior oncology nurse and my surgeon's nurse was blunt but extremely helpful. But it would be good to have that option offered as far as possible. It may be that there is a bit of "selection for scarce resources" involved. Which could be OK if people making those decisions have enough information to do so. Which, in the hurly burly of an unexpected diagnosis and all its implications, seems unlikely. 
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,561
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    For me, perhaps fortunate than some on this post, I had a Breast care nurse as part of my Breast Surgeons team.  


  • kitkatb
    kitkatb Member Posts: 442
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    I have read all these comments and my heart goes out to the lack of support for some people. I went through the public system here in Qld and was absolutely blessed with a BC nurse who followed me through all stages and often rung to see how I was and if I had any concerns. I guess I was one of the lucky ones.
  • Patti J
    Patti J Member, Dragonfly Posts: 589
    edited January 2019
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    It is very interesting to note that early stage breast cancer patients may have 12 interactions with a breast care nurse, for metastatic patients it can be 60, 80 or more. Hence the need to see a dedicated metastatic breast care nurse. 
  • Shellshocked2018_
    Shellshocked2018_ Member Posts: 283
    edited January 2019
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    Hi, I’m going through the public system right now, diagnosed late October.
    The team at FMC cancer clinic put in a referral to a Mc Grath BC nurse at Victor Harbor as that was the closest one to me. They also gave me the contact number to call if I hadn’t heard anything over the next few days .
    I have had several visits from the BC nurse since being diagnosed and she has been very helpful and always answers any concerns or questions I may have. I even had a call from her over the Christmas break to see how I was travelling.
    The Breast Care nurses at FMC are available to talk to at anytime Mon-Fri during office hours if you have a concern.
    I live on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
    If there is anything I can help you with you can drop me a personal message.

  • Patti J
    Patti J Member, Dragonfly Posts: 589
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    @Shellshocked2018_. That is very fortunate.

  • Cowgirl1
    Cowgirl1 Member Posts: 66
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    Just reading back the comments from you all regarding any kind of bc nurse McGrath or other, I hope this has changed a bit by now?
    the amount of money they raise for bc should be for care for us not being gobbled up by other things. I know you have to pay people etc to run things but it’s either all bullshit about caring for us or we just haven’t exposed this ,to me shocking that half of you haven’t t seen a bc nurse . What the hell ,not good enough may be I should start something 😝 
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,388
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    I think the main thing is to have the option of bc nurses available. I had a splendid senior oncology nurse at day oncology and didn’t really need anyone else. Just knowing there is someone experienced, who has a bit of knowledge about you, to turn to is immensely helpful - whatever the title. 
  • jm13
    jm13 Member Posts: 24
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    I’m so grateful for the McGrath nurse I have been gifted with. Awesome patient and so helpful. Also I’ve found the oncology staff absolutely brilliant. I’m sad there isn’t enough of these special nurses for all 
  • Fufan
    Fufan Member Posts: 123
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    What do the McGrath nurses actually do?  I supposedly have one.  She's given me an office phone number,  sent me a pillow and a bra.  Full stop.  I understand that during Covid she can’t see me because I’m being treated at the private hospital and she’s based at the public hospital.  But I thought I might get some phone calls.  If I had specific questions of course I’d ring, but if you don’t know, you don’t know what to ask.  It’s more that I’m feeling lonely and confused.  Is this the usual experience?